Posted: 27 Sep 2008 11:13 AM CDT
Last night while watching the debate, one specific portion caught my eye, which was when John McCain spoke about Barack Obama saying he would meet with Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad with "preconditions."
Top of the Ticket provides the transcript.
The exchange went as follows:
McCain:Senator Obama twice said in debates he would sit down with Ahmadinejad, Chavez and Raul Castro without precondition. Without precondition. Here is Ahmadinenene [mispronunciation], Ahmadinejad, who is, Ahmadinejad, who is now in New York, talking about the extermination of the State of Israel, of wiping Israel off the map, and we're going to sit down, without precondition, across the table, to legitimize and give a propaganda platform to a person that is espousing the extermination of the state of Israel, and therefore then giving them more credence in the world arena and therefore saying, they've probably been doing the right thing, because you will sit down across the table from them and that will legitimize their illegal behavior.
First lets tackle whether McCain was "mischaracterizing" Obama's words as Obama accused him of doing.
The video below (YouTube URL here) shows when this topic first came up in July of 2007 at a Democratic debate:
Anderson Copper allowed a YouTube video question: This exchange can be found at the transcript of that debate, page 13 and 14.
Question: In 1982 Anwar Sadat traveled to Israel, a trip that resulted in a peace agreement that has lasted ever since. In the spirit of that type of bold leadership, would you be willing to meet separately, without preconditions,during the first year of your administration, in Washington or anywhere else, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea, in order to bridge the gap that divides our countries.
Obama: I would. And the reason is this, the notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them, which has been the guiding diplomatic principle of this administration, is ridiculous.
Hillary Clinton answered the question right after Obama did and she said:
Clinton: Well, I will not promise to meet with the leaders of these countries during my first year. I will promise a very vigorous diplomatic effort because I think it is not that you promise a meeting at that high a level before you know what the intentions are.
Barack Obama's website also discusses the matter under the topic of Diplomacy:
Obama supports tough, direct presidential diplomacy with Iran without preconditions. Now is the time to pressure Iran directly to change their troubling behavior. Obama and Biden would offer the Iranian regime a choice. If Iran abandons its nuclear program and support for terrorism, we will offer incentives like membership in the World Trade Organization, economic investments, and a move toward normal diplomatic relations. If Iran continues its troubling behavior, we will step up our economic pressure and political isolation. Seeking this kind of comprehensive settlement with Iran is our best way to make progress.
Since Henry Kissinger was spoken about and used as an example by Barack Obama, I think everyone knew that by this morning, Kissinger would be weighing in one way or another, and sure enough, I open memeorandum and see the headline "TWS Exclusive: Kissinger Unhappy About Obama."
The Weekly Standard shows the statement by Kissinger:
Senator McCain is right. I would not recommend the next President of the United States engage in talks with Iran at the Presidential level. My views on this issue are entirely compatible with the views of my friend Senator John McCain. We do not agree on everything, but we do agree that any negotiations with Iran must be geared to reality."
The questions we are left with are, did Barack Obama mischaracterize Kissinger's stance and did McCain mischaracterize Obama's statement?
Posted: 27 Sep 2008 02:39 AM CDT
Why bother weighing in with just one more take on Friday night's Presidential Debate? By now, every conceivable angle has been covered. Predictably, both camps have claimed victories. What could be said that hasn't already been said, and said by more astute pundits than myself?
Well, there is one little thing. One little sentence that sticks out in my mind and just will not go away. One small phrase which Obama uttered that to me has more significance than everything else he stated during this contest. And here it is: "America is the greatest country in the world, but--" But. That's the word that matters, folks. That's the word that more than any other reveals the goals of this candidate. America, he goes on to explain, is not the same country it was when his Kenyan father spoke of America with those high expectations. Children around the world no longer look at America the same way. This, then, would be the sacred crusade of an Obama presidency: to restore that faded luster to our American star. To get people around the world to like us once again. To make it possible for his wife to be truly proud to be an American for the first time in her lifetime. Barack Obama sees it as his mission to make it up to the world for all of America's past transgressions. To make America more universalist.
My God. Where has this man learned his American history? From the Reverend Wrights of this world? Is this what we want? What we need right now? Is this the new America? A regretful America, ashamed of itself and of its history? A humbled America, apologizing to the world for its existence and for its success? Do we really want a more internationalist America, an America more beholden to the world's agenda than to our own? Do we really want to relinquish more of our sacred national identity?
Just ask the poor betrayed Brits how they like their new found internationalism. Their merging of cultures and their loss of their own. Ask the Brits how they feel about the EU and Brussels.
What a President Obama would do about the present financial crisis on Wall Street is important, very important. What a President Obama would do about the emerging Russian Bear, or the crazy Atom Bomb-coveting Iranian Mullahs is very important. His views on the best way to manage the GWOT are extremely important. But, to this particular writer, his stated vision of America and what he wants America to be could very well be the most important issue of them all.
Regardless of your party affiliation, if you feel, as I do, that the United States of America owes no one any apologies, and has every right to promote its own interests and to protect those interests, without interference from any foreign powers or organizations of foreign powers, then we just cannot let this man win the presidency. We cannot give away this great nation of ours this easily. - rg
Posted: 26 Sep 2008 06:53 PM CDT
For Ole Miss, presidential debate marks racial progress
A note from Radarsite: This choice of Ole Miss to host the 2008 presidential debates is a symbolic gesture to the world which may in fact be the most determinate factor of this entire campaign. This is what it's all about,folks. Sending a message to the world. We are telling the world that we're sorry. We're admitting our past failures and our primary responsibility for most of the world's present day problems. Our shameful record of racism and white supremacism has finally been overcome. Just look at us now, world. Look at how far we have come.
For those people here in America and around the world who truly embrace this view of the racist imperialistic United States, this message is probably even more important than the outcome of these debates. For no matter how our symbolic candidate performs tonight, his devotees will not be changing their minds or their votes. They are convinced that America is the problem in this world, and that the only solution to this problem lies in changing what it means to be an American. And Barack Hussein Obama personifies America's unqualified acceptance of its historical guilt and its commitment to change.
God help us all.
Posted: 26 Sep 2008 04:38 PM CDT
[Update] Live blogging event for the Mississippi presidential debate will be activated at 8:40 p.m. ET, at this link.
In what many are calling Team Obama's attempt to lower expectations about Barack Obama's debate performance tonight, the campaign has released a memo showing how McCain is hailed by pundits as a good debater and how debates are not a good format for Obama
The memo was sent to "interested parties" and "from the Obama campaign", with the re: listed as "Home-field advantage: John McCain," referring to the debate itself.
The Atlantic.com site says "If it's 2pm the day of the debate, it must be an expectations-lowering memo."
The beginning of the memo lists the Obama's campaigns talking points about John McCain and the latter part of the memo shows different pundits and news organizations speaking to both candidate's debate performance capabilities and meant to show the "expectations" set out for both John McCain and Barack Obama.
The start with the header of "McCain Debate Performance", all in capital letters.
The Obama team memo shows recent articles from the New York Times on 9/23/08, saying "New York Times: A Review Of Debates Show That McCain Is Most Comfortable And Authentic When The Subject Is Foreign Policy," and showing a portion of the NYT article which said "review of several of Mr. McCain's debates shows that he is most comfortable and authentic when the subject is foreign policy. And in a stroke of good fortune, foreign policy is the topic for Friday, the first of three 90-minute debates with Senator Barack Obama, the Democratic nominee."
They list multiple examples like the one above from organizations like the International Herald Tribune on 9/23/08, The New Republic on 9/23/08, three pieces from the Atlanta Journal Constitution on 9/21/08, and lastly a piece from the New York Magazine on 9/21/08.
All articles listed speaking about McCain having the "edge" in the debate or McCain' entering the debate as a "substantive favorite."
Then the memo moves to the expectations for Barack Obama headlining that portion with "Obama Debate Performance" and directly under that in capital letters and in bold print, it states "DEBATES ARE NOT A GOOD FORMAT FOR OBAMA."
They list articles about Obama's debate expectations from media outlets like the New York Times on 9/23/08, Associated Press on 9/20/08, the Atlantic in September of 2008, and CNN on 8/22/08.
The Associated Press article declares that Obama comes across as "Lifeless, Aloof, And Windy," during debates and the Atlantic asserting that Obama has "Never Managed To "Receive Big Acclaim After A Debate," with CNN saying the Democrats are worried that Obama is "Professorial Or Too Subdued."
Those "interested parties" which received the memo are discussing whether a memo from team Obama, claiming Obama is very bad at debates and John McCain is very good at debates, was the image they wished to receive from the Obama campaign right before his first presidential debate.
Posted: 26 Sep 2008 01:47 PM CDT
A new coalition has been formed including Conservatives and Liberals and they are asking John McCain and Barack Obama open the remaining presidential debates to the public domain.
The LA Times' Top of the Ticket target="_blank">reports of a new coalition of what they call Internet pioneers from all sides of the political spectrum want two things.
First they want the debates open to public domain with Lawrence Lessig, law professor and Stanford Law School & Founder, saying "Copyright, in my view, is essential and important, in some places. This isn't one," referring to the debates.
The second issue at hand for the Open Debate Coalition is how the questions are decided for presidential debates and they are asking the two presidential candidates to insist on a new method of choosing the questions.
Right now choosing the questions is up to whoever is hosting and moderating the debate although during the primary season, some formats included questions received online.
The suggestion from the coalition for deciding the questions is that online questions be submitted and voted on putting the most voted on questions at the top of the list and choosing from the top 25 on the list.
The Presidential Commission on Debates has only offered a limited amount of new technology into their debate rules of late, so the newly formed coalition decided to go around the Commission and trying to directly influence the candidates to insist on altering the current methods.
In one portion of the letter the Open Debate Coalition has sent to the candidates, they state, "This is a historic election. The signers of this letter don't agree on every issue. But we do agree that in order for Americans to make the best decision for president, we need open debates that are 'of the people' in the ways described above. You have the power to make that happen, and we ask you to do so."
The members of the Open Debate Coalition include, Lawrence Lessig – Professor, Stanford Law School & Founder, Center for Internet and Society, Glenn Reynolds – Professor, University of Tennessee Law, and founder of Instapundit.com blog, Craig Newmark – Founder, Craigslist, Jimmy Wales – Founder, Wikipedia, David Kralik – Director of Internet Strategy, Newt Gingrich's American Solutions, Eli Pariser – Executive Director, MoveOn.org Political Action, Adam Green – Director of Strategic Campaigns, MoveOn.org Political Action, Mindy Finn – Republican strategist, former Mitt Romney Online Director, Patrick Ruffini – Republican consultant, Bush/Cheney 2004 eCampaign Director, Arianna Huffington – Founder, Huffington Post, Markos Moulitsas – Founder, DailyKos.com, Jon Henke – New media consultant, including for Fred Thompson, George Allen, and Senate Republican
Caucus, Mike Krempasky – Founder of RedState.com, Matt Stoller – Founder/Editor, OpenLeft.com, James Rucker – Executive Director, ColorOfChange.org, Robert Greenwald – President, BraveNewFilms, Kim Gandy – President, National Organization for Women, Carl Pope – Executive Director, Sierra Club. Micah Sifry – Co-Founder, Personal Democracy Forum and TechPresident.com, Shari Steele - Executive Director, Electronic Frontier Foundation,
Josh Silver – Executive Director, Free Press, Carl Malamud – Founder, Public.Resource.Org, Roger Hickey – Co-Director, Campaign for America's Future.
It is not often, if ever, the political blogosphere sees these names together promoting any issue.
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